This week in Jalopnik: A proposal for an electric car—share network in Europe; the Jaws of Life becomes hybrid-friendly; an automotive supplier says USB drives could replace CD changers; a really remote starting system for cars is launched; and some joker fulfills a childhood slot-car fantasy.
With Europe's 30-satellite GALILEO network coming online in 2008, entrepreneurs got the call to develop something to use it for, other than finding the nearest Denny's (the European equivalent, of course) or geo caching in the Pyrenees. One particularly well-received suggestion, as the BBC reports, is a car-sharing service for electric vehicles. Cars would be tracked by satellite, and subscribers would be able to go online to find the nearest car, use it, then leave it wherever they wanted. The problem of charging the cars' batteries would be solved by a secret society of generator-wielding monks.
Hurst's hydraulic Jaws of Life has been helping first-responders free trapped car-accident victims for decades. Now, growing concern among police and fire personnel about being zapped by hybrid cars' high-voltage systems led the company to update the indispensable tool. The new model, the Jaws of Life, No Seriously, includes insulation and other features to prevent the rescuers from becoming the rescued.
Visteon, an automotive technology supplier, says Flash-based USB drives will begin replacing CD changers, possibly as early as next year. Sell those iPods, kids. I guess this means all those other competing technologies can just go ahead and hang it up. Gotcha.
With Guidepoint, an aftermarket automotive convenience service (think OnStar) and future purveyor of scary drama-in-real-life commercials, is offering subscribers a new online function. Instead of having to talk to a call-center rep to free trapped keys from a locked car, users can go online and unlock the car themselves. The system also comes with a remote-start function that's either a tremendous source of convenience on cold days, or a boon for social-engineering hackers employed by auto-theft syndicates.
And finally, from New Zealand, a slot-car cam. Nuff said.
[Jalopnik s The Week in Cars appears every Friday]